The latent project manager: do you have the hidden skills to succeed in the role?

Hidden Project Management Skills

The current COVID-19 pandemic lockdown has provided an unprecedented opportunity for many project professionals to pause, recharge, reset and plan for a new uncertain post-pandemic world. I’ve personally used this time to reflect on a decade working in projects and all my achievements. It’s reminded me that I never set out to work in projects – I didn’t even realise whilst at school or university that it was a recognised job or profession! That’s why I initially felt I was an accidental project manager, who got lucky to fall into the role. However, I’ve come to realise I actually possessed the latent skills required to thrive in the role, so luck wasn’t such a factor and rather I naturally gravitated towards a profession that suited me.

With hindsight I first demonstrated these latent project management skills during the mid-2000s when I re-formed my old school rugby team, persuading former pupils/team mates (some of whom I’d not seen for years and based all over the country) to play regular games against established club teams back home in Bristol. Without knowing it at the time I was displaying key project management skills such as leadership to inspire a team to work to a defined objective (playing and winning a rugby match), developing a team (by collectively improving) as we played more games together, doing this within defined timescales (the date of the games) and within a limited budget (to procure kit, player insurance, etc). It was my enjoyment at organising these rugby games that convinced me to change from the more traditional ‘business-as-usual’ job I was initially doing to pursue a career in project management, a move that’s brought great success, enjoyment and one I’ll never regret.

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Posted by Spencer Hobbs on 9th Jun 2020

About the Author

I’ve worked in the engineering and construction industry for 10 years, delivering large complex multi-million pound infrastructure projects which include the upgrade of London’s King’s Cross station. I won the APM’s Project Professional of the Year award in 2016 and became the first person to be short-listed as a finalist for the award again this year. I was in the first cohort to achieve the APM’s ChPP last year and I am also an APM Ambassador.

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